In the frame of 3D seismic acquisition, reconstructing the shape of the streamer(s) for each shot is an essential step prior to data processing. Depending on the survey, several kinds of constraints help achieve this purpose: local azimuths given by compasses, absolute positions recorded by global positioning system (GPS) devices, and distances calculated between pairs of acoustic ranging devices. Most reconstruction methods are restricted to work on a particular type of constraint and do not estimate the final uncertainties. The generalized inversion formalism using the least-squares criterion can provide a robust framework to solve such a problem — handling several kinds of constraints together, not requiring an a priori parameterization of the streamer shape, naturally extending to any configuration of streamer(s), and giving rigorous uncertainties. We explicitly derive the equations governing the algorithm corresponding to a marine seismic survey using a single streamer with compasses distributed all along it and GPS devices located on the tail buoy and on the vessel. Reconstruction tests conducted on several synthetic examples show that the algorithm performs well, with a mean error of a few meters in realistic cases. The accuracy logically degrades if higher random errors are added to the synthetic data or if deformations of the streamer occur at a short length scale.

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